Devotional Thursdays- The Promise Keeper

“Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled”.- Joshua 21:45

Promises used to be the way I trusted people. If someone told me something and I doubted them, I would make them promise it. That is the only way I would believe they would follow through. It was my personal form of a lie detector. I don’t know how I got to believe that promises were the ultimate form of truth telling but promises equated to swearing before a court of law. I just happened to be the judge, prosecutor and the bailiff making you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

A lot of those promises I held onto like a lifeline were broken. I was constantly let down without so much as a sorry. My one form of telling the truth was used against me by people who wanted me to believe them while they were lying to my face.

Being an adult taught me forgiveness and the cruel realization that as people had hurt me and lied to me, I’ve done the same to other people. I tried my hardest to not break promises but I’m sure I have broken them. I’ve probably broken promises to people who knew how highly I placed promises. 

I’ve stopped relying on promises. I’ve learned to just be a woman of my word. If I say something, I mean it. If I say I’m going to do something. I do it. Jesus tells us to let our yes be yes and our no be no. What we say matters.

Just like when God promises us something, He means it. While I’m human and make mistakes and have broken promises, God never has. He is the ultimate promise keeper. 

Write it Out

  1. Do you easily trust people? 
  2. Do you have your own version of a promise? 
  3. How can you start trusting more?

Stillness

Be still, and know that I am God- Psalm 46:10 //  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

I have patience for people. I am not patient for anything else. I would sooner go to a store and find a similar item I wanted before ordering it online. I’m currently working on changing this habit of mine but I’m making a point. I don’t like waiting. I don’t like waiting for answers or solutions. When situations arise, I turn into Vanilla Ice. If there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it.” 

I tackle problems and situations like a linebacker. I come with plan a’s and b’s and through half the alphabet. I come up with these plans, these numerous solutions, in minutes. It’s actually a little terrifying how quickly I have so many potential outcomes. It stresses me out. When there are a lot of options and plans, there is a lot of room to pick the wrong one. Which is a real fear of mine, picking the wrong plan, solution, decision, something. I am afraid of being wrong. I’m working on it. 

However, God says something completely opposite of my natural instincts. Throughout the Bible we have story after story of God telling his people to be still. Stories of godly men who retreat and spend time with God in times of hardship instead of rushing to fix the problem. Stories showing me that I need to trust in God and his promises instead of trying to control the situation. 

Recently, God showed me how waiting is beneficial and his way. My husband got a new job and his schedule was changing and we needed help with Little Man while I was at work. I started talking to friends and I came up with SO many plans on how to have someone with Little Man. I had plans from A-Z in trying to come up with a solution. None of these plans included asking the person who would end up being the one who hangs out with Little Man. On our date night, hubby suggested grandma. I immediately called her and left her a voicemail. The rest of the night I stressed about all the plans because what if A-Z doesn’t work out and what if hubby’s plan didn’t work out?

Grandma called me back later that night and was thrilled to help us out. What a blessing! She not only would help us with Little Man so we could both work but she was so happy to do it. 

If I had just waited and allowed some time to pass, I could have saved myself a lot of stress.

Write it Out!

  1. Where are you trying to force an issue where God is clearly saying to wait?
  2. What do you do when you stress out? Try and solve the problem to ask God? 

Devotional Thursdays- Choices

Choices

She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. – Genesis 3:6b

Eve was presented with a choice. She was talking to the enemy, who presented her with an alternative to what she knew God had said. He convinced her to make the choice to eat the apple from the tree God specifically said do not eat from. They had one job, one rule and they didn’t follow it. Then, Eve handed an apple to her husband Adam because sharing is caring and he ate it without question. The bible never indicated that Adam questioned his wife on where she got the apple from. Granted, there were probably other trees that had apples and maybe Adam wanted a snack. Apples are good. Why not eat it? 

That single choice wrecked humanity on earth. This individual choice effected every single human that would be born afterwards. This choice now made all of us born into sin because of their sin. We are born sinners because of Adam and Eve’s sin. 

Imagine having that sort of weight on your shoulders. I know sometimes we feel like we are carrying the world on our shoulders. How many of us actually make decisions that effect us, our children, and the thousands of generations that follow? I sure don’t. 

Jesus comes next. It is a long time after Adam and Eve, but he comes. He is born, he lives in the wold alongside humanity that is sinful. He also started his ministry, knowing how it would end. Jesus was always aware of why he was on earth. It wasn’t some revelation that was given to him when he was in his thirties and he suddenly had to make a choice on whether or not he wanted his destiny. Jesus always knew what he was. Jesus always knew what he was sent to do. However, as a man, Jesus had a choice. Jesus even asked God to take away what he was sent to do. (Matthew 26:39)  Since I have free will, I think Jesus could have ran away that night if he really wanted to. Just like I could run away from my family and everything I know tonight. I won’t, but technically, I could. 

Jesus’ choice to follow the father’s will and sacrifice himself was the choice that saved humanity. We now can go to God freely and be saved from our sinful humanity. Jesus chose us. He chose you. He chose me. He chose to bare my sin, and your sin. 

The bible has a lot of stories about prophets and people who all had choices to make. Some choices were made to cover up poor choices. Other choices were for the betterment of a kingdom. And still, other choices were made to glorify God.

Just like the people of the bible, we have choices. We go about our day making a ton of choices. We probably make more choices than we even realize. Not all of our choices hold weight, deciding to get into another car lane isn’t as heavy of a choice as deciding to buy a house. Thankfully, our choices most likely won’t effect humanity as a whole. Our choices may have consequences but we are human and as humans, we will make wrong choices. We cannot control that. No matter how much we stress over every decision we make. (Trust me, I’ve tried.) 

The biggest choice we make will be the one that deals with our eternity. Is Jesus the savior God sent to pay for our sins for us or is Jesus a myth about a really upstanding guy thousands of years ago?

That choice is the choice that will effect eternity. 

Write it Out

  1. What are some choices you are struggling with right now?
  2. What are some bad choices you made in the past that you need to forgive yourself for?
  3. How can you rest in God’s grace instead of relying on yourself to make every single right choice?

Devotional Thursdays- Strength

Strength

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Some days, I get home from a big day with a lot of things happening and I wonder how I am still standing. In fact, some days, I get home, sit down and don’t get back up until I get myself into my bed. I am that tired. Those days are fewer and fewer lately, I’ve been working on not adding so much to my plate. (Growth!) Then there are days I wake up, think about all the things that need to be done and stress about how I am going to do it. I get new opportunities and stress about whether or not I will do a good job. 

Recently, for example, I was stressed about a new opportunity I had at work. It was something that I was so excited for. The day came for me to start and I was so nervous I didn’t know what to do with it. Naturally, I turned that nervous energy into stress and started stressing about things I couldn’t control or things that were already settled. I used that nervous energy to second guess my decisions that un-stressed Ashleigh already made. 

I was telling my husband about it and he sent me the sweetest message that included “don’t let the enemy get you down.” I was so wrapped up in my stress and felt discouraged before I had even started this opportunity I was excited for. All those decisions I was second guessing, they were decisions we made for a trip we are about to go on. All good things that I was starting to doubt because at the core of my stress, I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t qualified to do what I was told to do. 

That’s where God comes in and His word tells me to chill. Be strong, God says. Don’t be afraid, he reminds us. God goes with me wherever I go. I like to envision this as if I’m walking down the street with God and he is holding my hand guiding me. 

Write it Out

  1. Where do you need God’s strength?
  2. How can you work on allowing God’s strength work rather than your own?
  3. Where do you need peace? 

Devotional Thursdays- Bloom

Let each of you remain in the situation in which he was called. 1 Corinthians 7:20

I have big ideas. I have big dreams. Dreams I know that God has given me and the biggest struggle of my life is figuring out how to get from where I am, to where I know God told me I’ll be. I don’t see the path and it bothers me to levels I didn’t know existed. 

Since working on my relationship with Jesus, I’ve been told that I need to be faithful in the small things and then God will trust me in the big things. Its sound advice. Luke 16:10 backs it up. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. How am I supposed to get to the big dreams if I cannot even do what I’m supposed to be doing in this moment? 

In his letter to the church of Corinth, Paul reminds them that they need to be faithful to where they are. The before and after verses reference circumcision and slaves. If you started following Jesus and were uncircumcised, you didn’t have to rush out and get that situated. The specifics of this do not matter. What matters is that we are serving the Lord where we are right now. 

I am still on the path to my dreams. I am still working towards them. When God gave me the vision he gave me years ago, I didn’t just up and quit everything I knew to follow this. I started serving God where I was. I showed God’s love to the parents of the little children I used to teach. I showed God’s love to the little children I used to teach. I served God in my church and in ministries and allowed other people to pour into me. As seasons change and I’m finally getting onboard with the change, I’m learning how to serve God in where I am at now. Sometimes, we aren’t where we expect to be when we envision the bigger picture of serving God. There are a lot of steps to get to that place and it doesn’t happen overnight. However, we aren’t just to sit on our hands while we wait for that day. If we do that, the day will never come.

There are people who are called to be pastors and missionaries. These are amazing callings and I am thankful for every single person who took up their cross there and do these amazing ministries. However, just because we are not a pastor doesn’t mean we aren’t called to serve God. It doesn’t mean that we cannot do Kingdom work in our daily lives. We don’t need to be a pastor to be a light for God. We don’t need to be a missionary in a different country to talk about God. In fact, in America, we have the wonderful freedom that allows us to talk about God and serve God. Everything we do we should be doing for Jesus. So even if you are working at a clothing store, you are working for Jesus and you should act as such. If you knew Jesus was coming to inspect your work, how different would it look from what you are doing right now? 

There are countless ways to serve God. We will have many seasons in life. We will have a lot of changes in life. The most important thing is that we dig in a little bit and bloom right where we are. Goals and dreams are great and vision is important. You also need to be working in the present and allowing God to get you ready for those dreams and those goals. The day when that vision comes to fruition, you want to be ready. That is why it is so important to bloom right where you are, right now. Do the best work you can right now. Bloom, right now. 

Write it Out:

  1. Where are you stagnant? What in your life cannot you not get excited about? Where are your struggles?
  2. How can you get excited about where you currently are? 
  3. If you are excited about where you are- how did you get there?
  4. How can you work on your perspective? And allow God to change your perspective?